Myworld’s Top 100 Prospects - 20 - 11

Whittling our way slowly to number one.

20. Javier Baez SS (Chicago Cubs) 7.74 - Another potential future Puerto Rican shortstop, Javier was the ninth pick in the 2011 draft, just behind fellow Puerto Rican Francisco Lindor.  Javier moved to Florida when he was 12 and played high school ball in Jacksonville.  He doesn’t have one outstanding tool, but he is above average in all.  He will be an offensive minded shortstop, but the biggest impediment for him is Starlin Castro.  Starlin is currently the Cubs shortstop and is expected to man the position for many years.  This may force a move to third or second for Javier to get his bat in the lineup.  The Cubs will keep him at shortstop because he is probably a couple of years away from the major leagues.  He should see High A this year where he only hit .188 in 23 games last year.

19. Mike Olt 3B (Texas Rangers) 8.08 - Like George Springer, Mike is a first round pick out of Connecticut, drafted a year before Springer in 2010.  He has a power bat that should manufacture runs.  The question for the Rangers is where he plays.  They have a pretty good third baseman already in Adrian Beltre, so this year he could find first base or a corner outfield in his future.  He plays under the shadows of Rangers super prospect Jurickson Profar.  While he doesn’t have the speed or defensive swag of Jurickson, he has more power and will be a cleanup hitter for some team needing his bat in the lineup.

18. Nick Castellanos 3B/OF (Detroit Tigers) 8.14 - Nick was a first round supplemental pick in 2010.  He hit over .300 his first couple years then created a lot of press by hitting .405 in 215 at bats at Lakeland.  He finally fell back to earth with a .264 average after 322 at bats in AA as a 20 year old.  With Miguel Cabrera at third the Tigers have moved him to the outfield.  He lacks the speed to cover a lot of ground in the outfield but has the bat you want to get in the lineup.  As he gains strength he should begin to see more balls carry over the fence.  At 6′4″, 210 pounds he still has some room to put some more meat on his bones.

17. Christian Yelich OF (Miami Marlins) 8.36 - Yelich was the Marlins first round pick in 2010.  He is another 6′4″ player who should begin to see more balls carry over the fence as he gains strength.  He has a career .322 average in his first three years in the minor leagues, hitting 27 homeruns his last two seasons.  He has the speed to cover ground in center but may lack the arm to be used in right.  With the recent acquisition of Jake Marisnick he may need to fit in left field to pursue his major league career.

16. Travis d’Arnaud C (New York Mets) 8.54 - Travis is considered one of the best catching prospects in the minor leagues because of his combination of bat and defense.  He has already been used as bait by other teams to acquire two Cy Young award pitchers, Roy Halladay and R.A. Dickey.  Travis was originally drafted by the Phillies as a first round supplemental pick in 2007.  The big concern is the knee injury he suffered last year that limited him to just 67 games after he slugged 16 homeruns.  Catchers do a lot of bending so early wear and tear on the knees is not a good thing.  He could develop the power to play first but like Joe Mauer he would be more valuable behind the plate.

15. Miguel Sano 3B (Minnesota Twins) 8.58 - Considered the top Dominican prospect in 2009 he has already had a movie (Pelotero) made about him.  Questions about his age delayed his signing, but the Twins paid over $3 million in bonus money to snag him.  At 6′3″, 232 pounds he is a big boy with plenty of wallop in his bat.  He could be the best power prospect coming up in the minor leagues.  As he balloons in size he may need to move from third base to first.  He drove in 100 runs last year, bashing 28 homeruns at Low A.  The Twins hope he is ready for their lineup in 2015.

14. Jose Fernandez RHP (Miami Marlins) 8.6 - Jose left Cuba as a 15 year old and pitched in high school in Tampa where he was a first round pick in 2011 by the Marlins.  He has a fastball they miss in Cuba, hitting the mid-90s and his curveball is the best in the Marlins system.  He also throws a decent change and slider to give him a huge arsenal to use against hitters.  Last year he was 14-1 at two levels, finishing with an ERA under 2.00 at both the Low A and High A.  He should begin this year in AA and a mid-season or September call-up is possible.  The Marlins may need a prospect to generate some buzz in the stadium and Fernandez could be that man.

13. Zack Wheeler RHP (New York Mets) 8.62 - Zack was a 2009 first round pick of the Giants and traded to the Mets for Carlos Beltran.  The Mets like his mid-90s fastball and like Fernandez his curveball is also the best in the Mets system.  He still needs to improve on his command.  His slider has the potential to be an effective weapon and his change is a work in progress.  He had success in AAA, but could use more seasoning there to prepare him for a mid season callup to join Matt Harvey.

12. Billy Hamilton CF (Cinncinnati Reds) 8.64 - Billy was a second round 2009 pick but has developed into a burner with his record breaking 155 stolen bases last year.  The big improvement for him in 2012 was his ability to get on base.  The more he is on base the more opportunities he has to steal a base.  He had an onbase average of over .400 between High A and AA with a batting average of .311.  The Reds have moved him from shortstop to centerfield where they have an immediate need.  He could see a mid-season callup if their centerfield situation does not work out.  Since this will be his first year learning the position he will need to show an ability to track fly balls before he even thinks about a promotion to the major leagues.

11. Tyler Skaggs LHP (Arizona Diamondbacks) 8.76 - Tyler was a supplemental first round pick of the Angels in 2009, traded to the Diamondbacks for Dan Haren.  The lefthander does not have a power fastball, sitting in the low 90s, but relies on a complete repertoire and mix of pitches for his success.  After having success in AA and AAA last year he got six starts for the Diamondbacks and showed he needed more work, weaving together a 5.83 ERA but with only a 13/21 walk to whiff ratio in 29 innings.  His strikeout to innings pitched numbers have seen substantial decreases as he rises each level so that could be a concern.

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